• Offered by School of Music
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Music
  • Areas of interest Musicology, Music
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Jos Mulder
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

Sound is the fundamental material of music. This course provides an introduction to the elemental components, and acoustic principles of musical sound, examining the ways in which these principles shape our perception and understanding of music. The exploration of musical acoustics incorporates aspects of frequency, sound envelopes, and amplitude measurement. These principles then inform a grounding in the key concepts and skills of musical practice, including the consideration of diatonic pitch space, its systems of documentation, and the ways in which we use it to explain relationships between musical sounds. An understanding of the components of sound also informs the ways in which we perceive, analyse, manipulate and articulate the sounds of music. Techniques of critical listening are introduced in multiple contexts, from the exploration of the frequency content of sound through spectral solfege, to the perception of pitch relationships within diatonic pitch space. Techniques for the analysis of musical sound are introduced which are foundational for the future studies of the music practitioner, technologist, and analyst alike.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. describe the foundational principles of musical acoustics;
  2. explain the relationships between musical acoustics and our perception and use of sound in music; and
  3. apply techniques of sound analysis and listening in the explanation of the sonic properties of music.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Lab Portfolio, comprising theory, aural and technology assessments, equivalent to 2500 words (50) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Examination during exam period, 2 hrs duration (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Music Computing Assignment (20) [LO 1,2,3]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: 

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and/or studio/laboratory workshops and 12 hours of tutorials; and 

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

William M. Hartmann, Principles of Musical Acoustics, New York: Springer, 2013.

Andrew Hugely, The Digital Musician, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge, 2012.

Jason Corey. Audio Production and Critical Listening: Technical Ear Training, 2nd ed., Taylor and Francis, 2016.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $3780
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8272 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View

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